Author Topic: Badly stuck Mash - why this time?  (Read 2372 times)

Offline gimmeales

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Badly stuck Mash - why this time?
« on: March 15, 2010, 02:14:05 PM »
I asked this on another forum recently without a lot of concrete feedback, so I present to you:  I brewed a Dry Stout a couple weeks ago - had a badly stuck mash and sparge of the likes I've never experienced (had to nearly completely scoop out the mash tun with a strainer) . I've brewed a good dozen batches on my system, one of which had 20%+ Rye (w/out rice hulls) which lautered without a hitch.

The gap on my Barley Crusher has not been changed. The two culprits I'm guessing at this point are:

1.) Extra Dry base malt causing excess flour and husk breakage (this was Golden Promise malt I got from the LHBS)

2.) I doubled the Flaked Barley from the first batch of this beer (2lbs in a 9.5 lb total grist) and wondered if the flaked format creates a more gummy mash?

Either of these likely?  Any other potential culprits?

Thanks in advance!

Offline coloradojay

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Re: Badly stuck Mash - why this time?
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2010, 02:23:43 PM »
Can you give a run down of your system?

Offline denny

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Re: Badly stuck Mash - why this time?
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2010, 02:26:48 PM »
I vote for #2 as a possibility.
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Offline gimmeales

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Re: Badly stuck Mash - why this time?
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2010, 02:47:55 PM »
More info:  rectangular Coleman Extreme cooler, stainless braid manifold.

I've brewed batches with as little as 9lbs and up to 16lbs of grain with this system - again, never had runoff issues.

Thanks for the suggestion, Denny - that was my guess too being as I doubled that ingredient from the first run and an ingredient, I don't know much about.

Offline mikeypedersen

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Re: Badly stuck Mash - why this time?
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2010, 03:10:25 PM »
I would tend to agree that it could have been the flaked barley.

The only time I have completely stuck a mash like that, it was due to running off too quickly which creates a vacuum and compacts the grain bed beyond the point where it can serve as a filter.  You weren't, by chance, running off quicker than normal were you?

Offline gimmeales

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Re: Badly stuck Mash - why this time?
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2010, 03:25:05 PM »
Nope, I ran off fairly slowly, AND was extra careful during vorlaufing, having considered this might be a cause.  As I watched the runoff, it did seem like there were lots of visible particulates moving through the tubing.  Not sure if that was the broken-down FB, or pulverized base malt like my other guess. 

Since no one's jumping on any other obvious culprit, I'll write-this off as a one-off and watch closely the next time my FB % is so high.

Thanks all!

Offline rabid_dingo

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Re: Badly stuck Mash - why this time?
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2010, 07:03:56 PM »
I've only had a handful of stuck sparges, but I just shoot some water off the hose with garden JET setting in the opposite direction. It stirs the mash a bit and never had a problem after that. Only takes a 1-2 second burst. revorlauf and there you go.
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Offline theDarkSide

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Re: Badly stuck Mash - why this time?
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2010, 05:46:20 AM »
I have the same setup as you and always throw in 1/2 lb of rice hulls ( that is when I remember ). 
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Offline euge

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Re: Badly stuck Mash - why this time?
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2010, 11:41:50 AM »
This happens. Probably the flaked barley making it a bit more gummy. A perfect storm of conditions f'ing up your serenity.  :o

All one can do is stop the run- stir and then restart. No shame in it even if it takes several tries. Sometimes to loosen it up some I've had to add more hot water to the first half of the batch and despite the volumes being unequal the ultimate impact on efficiency was minimal. Usually the second half runs better.

If it happens again I'd throttle it back even more. Takes longer but the risk of compacting a gummy bed is lessened.

Good luck.

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Offline coloradojay

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Re: Badly stuck Mash - why this time?
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2010, 06:57:04 PM »

This happens. Probably the flaked barley making it a bit more gummy. A perfect storm of conditions f'ing up your serenity. 



I don't have any experience with your setup, but I will agree with the gummy flaked barley. Sorry I couldn't be more help.

On a side note - Anyone running into stuck sparges with the 5/10 gal with stainless bottom check to make sure your pickup isn't bottoming out on the floor of the cooler. Over time I had slowly smashed my false bottom down with the mash paddle while "stirring" the mash. Caused me no small amount of frustration until I figured it out, and an easy fix - just persuade the false bottom into a cone shape again.

Offline roguejim

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Re: Badly stuck Mash - why this time?
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2010, 02:40:21 AM »
Nope, I ran off fairly slowly, AND was extra careful during vorlaufing, having considered this might be a cause.  As I watched the runoff, it did seem like there were lots of visible particulates moving through the tubing.  Not sure if that was the broken-down FB, or pulverized base malt like my other guess. 

Since no one's jumping on any other obvious culprit, I'll write-this off as a one-off and watch closely the next time my FB % is so high.

Thanks all!

I don't understand this.  If you're batch sparging, your runoff should be wide open.

Offline denny

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Re: Badly stuck Mash - why this time?
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2010, 08:29:10 AM »
Nope, I ran off fairly slowly, AND was extra careful during vorlaufing, having considered this might be a cause.  As I watched the runoff, it did seem like there were lots of visible particulates moving through the tubing.  Not sure if that was the broken-down FB, or pulverized base malt like my other guess.  

Since no one's jumping on any other obvious culprit, I'll write-this off as a one-off and watch closely the next time my FB % is so high.

Thanks all!

I don't understand this.  If you're batch sparging, your runoff should be wide open.

Well, it's more like your runoff can usually be wide open, as opposed to "should" .

gimmeales, I've gotta ask....did you crush the flaked barley?
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Offline SwashBuckling Drunk

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Re: Badly stuck Mash - why this time?
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2010, 03:00:28 PM »
To throw another angle out there, I've had weird issues w/ Simpson's GP.  It's the only malt I've had issues running through my Barley Crusher.  The rollers would stop turning and I'd have to keep messing w/ it to get it through.  Maybe I got a "bad" bag, but I haven't bought another since.

The GP probably isn't the source of the OP's stuck mash, but MAY have contributed to the perfect storm.

Offline euge

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Re: Badly stuck Mash - why this time?
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2010, 11:02:37 PM »
I just had real trouble last weekend milling some GP. I'd already backed off my usual gap with the first sack. Had to do it again on this second sack I just opened.

No problem with any stuck mashes so far.
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Offline 1vertical

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Re: Badly stuck Mash - why this time?
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2010, 07:52:27 AM »
After many batches I found it prudent to check the tightness of the
bulkhead fitting where your braid meets the cooler wall. I mean just
snug it up a little.  I tried this with good results....
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